Culture

The last year before it’s the twenties

Welcome to 2019! As we usher in the New Year in our own ways — some sleeping through a relatively normal night, some recovering from hangovers, some to the sounds of their children stomping around the house, and others from a long night of work — we look forward to the things that lie ahead. After all, we’re in the last year before it’s the twenties (where I’m fully expecting Gatsby parties and speakeasies).

But for a quick moment, let’s talk about the New Year, what it means, and why we celebrate it.

The concept of measuring time is a human invention. We experience time as a river flowing forward, and we have invented arbitrary measurements to keep track of how it passes, calling them seconds, hours, weeks, and years. It’s funny how each revolution of the earth is pretty similar to the last go-around, and yet we assign all sorts of value to days like today. In response to this, many sneer at the idea of holidays or anniversaries — sometimes I have an overly analytical brain that wants to dismiss “special” days simply because, technically speaking, they are days like any other days.

But it’s silly to try and dismiss the building blocks of human beings — to pretend like we aren’t inherently wired to recognize the symbolism woven into the holidays we have created.

And the symbols that are woven into New Year’s Day? What has been left behind and what lies ahead.

Measurements of time not only help us keep track of things as we move forward, but they allow us to easily look back on our lives and reflect. If you pause and look at 2018, what will you find? What did you accomplish? What did you offer to those around you?

A lot happened in 2018 — a lot of good and a lot of bad. Medicine and science have continued to increase life expectancy and save countless lives; many of us have enjoyed the fruits of living in the most peaceful time in history.

A lot of bad happened too — the U.S. feels more divided than it has been in a long time, and most seem more interested in deepening the divide with a “they started it” attitude. Despite the relative peace around the globe, terrible wars still rage on and many of us are seeing the most horrendous details of these conflicts on our phones or computers.

And of course, everyone has their own personal stories, some of which are devastating, others inspiring, others depressing, and some just kind of unremarkable.

But reflections of the past are useless without applying them to the future, otherwise they turn into regret and fester in your mind.

And so we look forward, to 2019. What are you going to accomplish? What will you offer to those around you? Will you search for a purpose, a meaning to your brief existence on earth? Or will you take the purpose you’ve already grabbed onto and fight on its behalf?

You might be thinking: I don’t need a New Year’s Day to roll around in order to start looking at my goals. That’s cliché, and honestly if you that’s what you need then you aren’t going to accomplish it anyway. Maybe you’re right. But to me that sounds like someone stomping on an opportunity others might take advantage of, to reflect on the past and plan for the future when they may not have otherwise — though it may not be a game-changer, it’s a step in the right direction. And to that I say: go all-in. Make resolutions if that suits you, but stick to them.

Here at The Freq we want to extend to you a Happy New Year, and we hope that 2019 is a year of looking forward. We hope it’s not a year of wallowing in pessimism, finding excuses for inaction, and complaining about the inadequacies of others; rather, we hope that it’s a year for building a better world for those around us and for future generations, for taking responsibility for the state of the world and our country, and for fighting for all the things worth fighting for.

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homanj1
Member

Luke-We talked to a friend from Scotland last night. The Scot tradition is to open the front door of your house to welcome the new year, open the back door to usher out the old year, sing AuldLangSyne, and most importantly have a wee nip of whisky. To honor 1/4th of my heritage, I thought that would be my new tradition. Alas I fell asleep before midnight. This year I intend to uphold my pledge to stay off Facebook and Twitter and other social media. I’m going to put down my phone and be present when with friends and family.… Read more »

Susan B
Member

Sounds like a great plan to me, LPD. I plan to read more books, play more games with family instead of on the pc, and concentrate on improving my mind and my lifestyle. If I even get a few of those things accomplished, I will be ahead. Happy New Year to you, and to all those that have contributed to the Freq and to each other over the year. 🙂

Susan B
Member

Happy New Year to all of you at the Freq and to all those that have contributed in comments that I also enjoy. May 2019 be kind to you and provide you and your families with blessings and bounty.

Mic-Mac
Member
Mic-Mac

Luke, your article is well written and hits so many points that have come to mind over past New Year Eve’s and Day’s. This year it would certainly be a welcomed change if we could see a decrease in the hatred and divide in our country.

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